Mickleham Bends

The 1930s saw considerable work to expand and improve the road network of mainland Britain, with many new arterial roads built around London and many other bypasses and improvements to roads in major cities across the country. It was still fairly unusual, however, to see new rural bypasses built as dual carriageways.

The Mickleham Bypass in Surrey was different, taking a tricky section of A24 south of Leatherhead and improving it with a second carriageway through the wooded Mole Valley and a new road avoiding the centre of the village. It was opened in two stages, in November 1937 and June 1938. Virtually unmodified to the present day, it had become notorious for its atrocious accident record, mainly because of the narrow southbound carriageway in the Mole Valley where the original road had not been widened or straightened as part of the dualling works, and because of the incredibly tight bend north-west of Mickleham itself.

Until the mid-1990s there were extravagant plans for a tunnel to straighten the line of the A24, but inevitably the cost was too high and in the end Surrey County Council chose to reduce the speed limit and close one lane of the deadly southbound carriageway. Today it's not as slow or as adrenaline-fuelled as it once was, but is still a fascinating and scenic road that's well worth a tour.

Routes
A24

What's new

Gifts for road lovers

Keep being asked what you want for Christmas? No problem: here’s our pick of road-related Christmas treats for 2021.

Go west! New Ringways pages are here

A new set of Ringways pages are now online, looking at unbuilt motorways and road projects west of London.

No smoke without ire

London's Ultra Low Emission Zone has just expanded to cover the whole inner city, and across the UK, other cities are implementing their own Clean Air Zones. Is this the future?

Share this page

Have you seen...

Driver Location Signs

If you're on the motorway (in England at least) you might have noticed some funny blue signs down the side of the road. What are they for?